On a city tour: the Zollverein allowed Essen-Katernberg to grow

Essen-Katernberg.
The Essen tour guide organized a tour through the Katenberg district. He explained how the miners lived.

Ingo Pohlmann, an avid tour guide since 2010, examines the development of the Katenberg district, which was incorporated in 1929 and is now multicultural, for the Paul-Gerlach-Bildungswerk der Awo. The meeting point is at the market and the audience is colorful. From the Katernberg beginner to the retired history teacher to Heide Henkel, born on Katternberger Straße, everything is there. She was born in 1942 during an air raid: “I was told that the windows fell from their frames during my birth. We now live in Huttrop. Today we visit the old homeland.”

The Essen Travel Guide is a walking encyclopedia

The district is really finished Zollverein coal mine grown around. In 1815 the inhabitants were still 371, in 1868 they were already 1,755 and in 1900 over 15,000 inhabitants, today there are about 24,000. Katernberg was shaped by the coal mine, the miners came from Silesia, West and East Prussia. Only part of the Zollverein World Heritage Site can be found in Katenberg. The main site is formally on the territory of neighboring Stoppenberg.

Ingo Pohlmann is a walking encyclopedia. Today it passes through a neighborhood that is already 802 years old. The name has nothing to do with cats, but with the “Kötter am Berge”. A cottage on a hill, later baptized “Oilberg”. Because an oil factory had established itself there.






Essen’s largest evangelical church is located in Katenberg

The market is dominated by the imposing miners’ cathedral. Pohlmann must explain it with a smile: “The church, built in 1901, is the largest Protestant place of worship in Essen with 1,430 seats and is therefore popularly called the cathedral.” Along Viktoriastraße, the group meets the Hegehof. Formerly an estate of the abbesses of Essen. In 1285 the purchase of the site is mentioned in a document. Later the Zollverein established corporate welfare here: “For families in need, including crèches and seminars for women”.


Also on Newly developed Katernberger Bach the guide stops: “The Emschergenossenschaft has extensively re-naturalized the former sewer, which had been piped in the 1960s.” Pohlmann jokes: “They didn’t do us tour guides any favors. Guests from outside want to experience the classic Ruhr area with smelly reservoirs.

The Hegehofsiedlung with its brick houses is strongly reminiscent of Holland: “These are called chain houses. One company did the construction. But the Zollverein owned the land, the Zollverein granted building loans and the Zollverein supplied the bricks.” In the next settlement, Pohlmann points out a peculiarity: “These are steel houses. Several steel plates sandwiched between them with air in between, behind thin masonry. Much lighter than stone houses and at least as well insulated.”

Stories of boarders in Katernberg

Pohlmann explains: “The miners still had very cramped sleeping places under the roof for the so-called boarders. Only when the others were on duty did they have the bed to themselves. And if the landlord was at work, maybe the landlady too. A conservative estimate is that one third of children have been conceived this way ”.

One participant had to smile: “My grandfather was from the Czech Republic and he was such a boarder. That’s how he met his wife, by the way. “But Anna-Maria Mika quickly adds:” Well, my grandmother was the miner’s daughter and not his wife. “Pohlmann smiles:” We here in the mining area are all descendants of people who have moved here. “It stands in front of the so-called” four in hand “, that is, houses with four apartments and four entrances. These houses each had 2400 square meters of burial land for self-sufficiency. According to Pohlmann, later the buildings became denser: “But then there were already consumer institutions. The Zollverein had eight.

Up to 450,000 miners worked at the Essen Zollverein

Once there, he explains the problem of the eternity of the mine water and the principle of the innumerable furnaces. Iron was mined here to make steel. Up to 450,000 miners worked at the Zollverein, the mining field extended to the Schalker Markt. On the walk back to the Katternberg market, Ingo Pohlmann hits another one: “Over there is Otto Schulte’s shop. A true neighborhood celebritybecause he is known by the rubbish team of RTL II.


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